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I'm trying to move some files over from an old hard drive. A couple of folders refuse to be copied. When trying to access the folders, the following error message appears:

[directory name] refers to a location that is unavailable.

It could be on a hard disk on this computer, or on a network. Check to make sure that the disk is properly inserted or that you are connected to the internet and then try again. If it still cannot be located, the information may have been moved to a different location.

All the folders in question have a common property, they end in a period, which is illegal in XP.



I've checked the following resource: Which solves the issue when you want to remove the folders, I've tested this and it works great.

Using command prompt and prepending \\\\?\ will let me access the file so

rd /s "\\\\?\D:\folder1."

This works fine, strangely this does not seem to work with copy or move. I've tried various permutations of

  • copy "\\\\?\D:\folder1." somethingelse
  • copy "\\\\?\folder1." somethingelse
  • move "\\\\?\D:\folder1." somethingelse
  • move "\\\\?\folder1." somethingelse

These folders have data I would like to access, so deleting the folders is of no use to me. I want to find some way to either rename the folders something that XP can understand or move the files out of that directory.

Is there anyway to do this with XP, or am I stuck with finding an OS that can read these files properly? If so do you have any suggestions on Live CDs that can understand filenames with this particular format?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

try using the dos name: "dir /x" will show you what they are. If it's shorter than 6 letters though it won't have any effect

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it worked, thanks! – Raymond May 14 '11 at 2:20

Just burn an Ubuntu LiveCD and copy the files out.

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You could rename the folder using a wildcard (?/*) like:

ren D:\Folder1? NewFolder1
ren D:\Folder1* NewFolder1

Or, you could use a disk-editor/sector-editor to edit the stored filename. There is some good info here:

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